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Gold Coast history and heritage

Discover how the City of Gold Coast is working to conserve and celebrate the rich and unique heritage of the Gold Coast.

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Kokoda Memorial

Veterans Bill Guest and Maurie Taafe

The Kokoda Memorial at Cascade Gardens has been created to help visitors to Cascade Gardens appreciate the courage and determination of the men who fought on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea during World War II (WWII).

This is an example of Rotary's continuing community work in support of the veteran community and its support of the people of Papua New Guinea in recognition of their sacrifices and deeds in WWII.

The Rotary Club of Surfers Paradise established Cascade Gardens in the 1950s and Rotary provided extensive rehabilitation, rest and recuperation services to Australian service men during the Vietnam War.

A memorial to these services is located adjacent to the large Rotary Wheel and Kokoda Memorial Walk at Cascade Gardens.

In 1996, the Rotary Kokoda Memorial Hospital and 12 aid stations were established in Papua New Guinea at Kokoda and in the surrounding region providing medical support and assistance as a living memorial to the work of both the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels (native carriers during the Kokoda Campaign) and members of the Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) who fought alongside the Australians at Kokoda and during the Papuan Campaign.

Kokoda Memorial Wall

Two men looking at plaque

The Kokoda Memorial Wall commenced with concept plans drawn up by Council of the City of Gold (Council) under the guidance of George Friend in 2003.

Through the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport, a local industrial artist, David Yardley was commissioned to develop the concept into a complete set of plans based on telling the Kokoda story through sculptured images on the face of a slightly curved memorial wall in the shape of the topography of the Kokoda Track.

These images are based on the famous photos taken by wartime photographers and correspondents Damien Parer and George Silk, and are imposed onto seven panels which the top lip design follows the line of the track over the Owen Stanley Ranges.

The panels tell the story of the WWII Kokoda Campaign from the arrival of the 39th Battalion at Port Moresby and the commencement of the Australian troops journey to its completion at the village of Kokoda.

The rear of the wall is inscribed in bronze with a dedication to all who fought and supported the campaign and also offers details of the significant points, villages and battles along the Track.

The forecourt of the wall is a rising sun emanating from the base splaying outwards approximately 20 metres designed to portray the Australian Army hat badge i.e. a rising sun, proudly worn then, and today, by soldiers of the Australian Army.

The dramatic images created by David in his West Burleigh studio are three dimensional, initially carved out of plasticine, then moulded and poured in reinforced concrete which will provide a permanent national memorial and tribute to all those who served on the Kokoda Track in 1942.

It all adds to the 65 year association between Kokoda Barracks, established in November 1942 located in the hinterland of the Gold Coast.

Construction of the wall began in April 2007 and was completed July 2008.

Rotary Kokoda Memorial Wall - Dedicated Friday 25 July 2008

Section of memorial wall in detail

This memorial was unveiled on the occasion of the 66th Anniversary of the first shots fired by the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion and the Papuan Infantry Battalion against the leading elements of the 144th Regiment, South Seas Force (Nankai Shitai) of the Imperial Japanese Army in their advance towards Port Moresby, signalling the commencement of the famous WWII Kokoda Track Campaign fought between July and November 1942.

Download the Rotary Kokoda Memorial Wall information booklet.

Technical Details

  • Length: 23 metres
  • Highest point: five metres
  • Weight of the largest panel when poured: approximately five tonnes

Funding

Section of memorial wall in detail

Funding for the design of the Memorial Wall and sculpting of the panels has been raised through the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport with the generous support, contribution and assistance of numerous sponsors, individual donations, Council and the Queensland State government.

Primary funding agency and sponsors

Council and the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport under the auspices of Rotary International. Thanks and appreciation to all Australian and Papuan veterans, associations, sponsors, government departments and agencies, Rotarians, the Koombumerri people and residents of the Gold Coast for making this Memorial possible. Mayor Ron Clarke, MBE and Councillor Eddy Sarroff.

2012 - Stage three statues proposed to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Kokoda Campaign (1942-2012).

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